AND Exterminators is one of the top pest control companies in Hyde park! Frederick C. Robie House is a U.S. National Historic Landmark also located in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. Frank Lloyd Wright created the 1909-1910 single-family residence. It’s the best example of Prairie School, the earliest American architectural style.
Robie House was included on the first National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966. In July 2019, the home and seven other Wright sites were added to the World Heritage List as “The 20th-Century Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright.”
Wright designed the Robie House in 1908 and 1909. Wright designed the Ferdinand F. Tomek House in Riverside, Illinois, in 1907–08. Robie was 28 years old and his father’s assistant manager when he commissioned Wright to design his home. Wright couldn’t have started designing the Robie House before the spring of 1908 because Robie bought the site in May of that year. He and his wife, Lora Hieronymus Robie, a 1900 UC graduate, chose 5757 South Woodlawn Avenue to be near the campus and social scene. The 60-by-180-foot Hyde Park lot was average.
Chicago’s H.B. Barnard Co. began building on April 15, 1909. Wright only supervised the house’s early stages. He departed Oak Park in 1909 to work on the Wasmuth Portfolio in Europe. He turned over his existing commissions to Hermann von Holst, who retained Marion Mahony, a draftswoman in Wright’s office, and George Mann Niedecken, an interior designer from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to continue working on the project. Niedecken designed parts of the house’s furnishings and rugs in the entryway, living room, and dining room.
Frederick, Laura, and their two children, Frederick Jr., and Lorraine, relocated in May 1910, but rugs and furnishings weren’t finished until January 1911. $13,500 was spent on the land, $35,000 on design and construction, and $10,000 on furnishings. Simple inflation-adjusted equivalents of $58,500 in 1910 hover about $1.5 million in 2015. (Other means of comparing price and worth through time could place that figure as high as $10 million without accounting for any historical fame premium.) Robie had a $60,000 budget.
Robie’s homestay was brief. Due to financial issues caused by the death of his father in July 1908, who had gambling debts that Robie unintentionally inherited, and the disintegration of his marriage, Robie was compelled to sell the house after living in it for only 14 months. David Lee Taylor, head of Taylor-Critchfield Company, bought the mansion in 1911. Ellen Taylor, Taylor’s widow, sold the house and most of its belongings to Marshall D. Wilber in 1912. The Wilbers spent 14 years in Robie House.
In 1926, the Wilbers sold the house and its contents to the Chicago Theological Seminary, which utilized it as a dormitory and dining hall. Robie House suffered extensive interior damage, including the loss of many gold wall sconces. A janitor saved Wright’s homemade rocking rocker from the garbage. Years later, the janitor contacted the University of Chicago when the museum opened and re-gifted the chair to Robie House. In 1941, an Illinois Institute of Technology graduate student uncovered the Seminary’s plan to demolish the Robie House and told his lecturers, including Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Demolition prompted protests. The problem was averted more by World War II than by the land owner’s consent.
16 Years Later
16 years later, Robie House faced its greatest peril. The Seminary declared on March 1, 1957, that it would destroy Robie House on September 15 to build a dorm. This time, a worldwide outcry ensued, and Wright, then over 90, returned to the Robie House on March 18 to protest its demolition. Wright said, “It shows the risk of entrusting anything spiritual to the clergy.” Two UC fraternities offered the Seminary an alternative to demolition. Wright was a Phi Delta Theta fraternity member at the University of Wisconsin. The Seminary owned the site between the Robie home and the Phi Delt chapter house at 5737 Woodlawn Avenue. Phi Delta and Zeta Beta Tau offered to evacuate their houses. These offers helped rescue the Robie home because they supplied enough acreage for the Seminary’s dormitories.
Then & Now
William Zeckendorf, a friend of Wright’s and a New York real estate magnate, bought the Robie House from the seminary in August 1958. Zeckendorf donated the building in February 1963. Robie House was the Adlai E. Stevenson Institute of International Affairs and the Alumni Association’s headquarters. The Robie House was certified a Chicago landmark on September 15, 1971, with Mayor Daley’s cooperation.
In January 1997, the University moved out and transferred tours, operations, fundraising, and restoration up to the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust. In 2002, the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust began restoring the Robie House to its 1910 appearance, when it best reflected the architect’s and client’s design intent. Harboe Architects assessed, planned, and led the interior repair. The Trust follows preservation standards. 2019 saw the end of the 11-million-dollar restoration. After structural steel, masonry, and new mechanical systems, woodwork, glass, and furniture were restored.
For more information on Hyde Park pest control call AND at (773) 945-0727 or visit us online. You can also refer to our site for information on Hyde Park’s Nuclear Energy Sculpture.